My Dad was a basketball referee when he was in his early twenties. He refereed basketball everyday of the week. He was good and always in demand. He said sometimes he refereed three or four games a day. He’d do a reserve and varsity game on Saturday afternoon and go to another school and do a reserve and varsity game at night. He would do Sunday afternoon games and then industrial and business league games on week nights. He even did a few college games.
It was the thirties, jobs and money were hard to come by. Dad worked games every chance he got.
That is how he met Mom. He refereed a women’s league on a week night. Dad said he fouled Mom out because he liked watching her cute butt when she walked angrily to the bench. Dad finally asked Mom to go out with him. I would have liked to have been there.
Dad’s first date was to take Mom to Celina where he had to referee a ballgame. It was a big rivalry game between Wapakoneta, Ohio and Celina, Ohio. Wapakoneta lost and their fans were furious. Things were thrown on the floor and Dad was booed, but cheered by the Celina fans. After the game he showered, collected his pay, and met Mom at the car.
He planned on taking Mom out for supper after the game. When you stop to think about it, it wasn’t much of a date for Mom. You sit alone on bleachers for three hours and listen to your boy friend being called every name in the book and then go out to eat – where’s the movie?
During the basketball game it started to snow and by the time Dad and Mom started home the roads were quite treacherous.
They were driving along and saw a car off the road. It was buried in a ditch full of snow. Dad stopped to help, but it was useless. Two men were with the car and Dad agreed to take them to a truck stop where they could get a wrecker to get them out of the ditch.
Dad asked them where they were headed and what they’d been doing – small talk. They had just come from the Wapakoneta/Celina basketball game and they had nothing good to say about the referee.
My Mom said she was scared to death, but my Dad enjoyed urging them on with questions. The men had no idea they were in the car with that SOB and b**tard referee, Jack Lewis.
They arrived at the truck stop and Dad waited to make certain they were going to get a wrecker otherwise he was going to drive them home. The wrecker was not available, but the men said they would stay until it was.
Because of Dad’s good Samaritan act they insisted on buying Mom and him supper at the truck stop’s diner. All through the meal the subject of the game continually came up. Both men once again had no idea that the referee they hated so much was sharing a booth with them. At one time they said if they ever met Jack Lewis they would whip his behind or something like that.
At the end of the meal Mom and Dad exited the booth. They thanked the men for the meal and the men thanked them for helping them out. When they got to the door Dad turned to the men and said, “By the way, thanks once again from that SOB, yours truly, Jack Lewis.” Dad quick stepped it to the car and drove off. Mom said she shivered the rest of the way home and not from the cold.
That was Mom and Dad’s first date. She should have known then.